Burnout: Signs, Symptoms & How To Avoid It! - 310 Blog

Burnout: Signs, Symptoms & How To Avoid It!

Jun 27, 2017
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One can experience burnout in almost any aspect of life. This is particularly the case with routine and rigorous exercise. After a few months, you lose inspiration. Burnout is also possible when work hours cut into rest and relaxation time.

Professional Burnout

Prolonged emotional exposure to stressors on the job breaks down into three categories: cynical attitude, overall exhaustion, and overall ineffectiveness. These results are based on an Annual Review of Psychology Study[1]; however, it brings about a new perspective. The light at the end of a drab tunnel is that the study concludes, the most hopeful outcome of a burnout experience “promises to yield new perspectives on interventions to alleviate burnout.”

The 5 Symptoms of Burnout

Studies[2] provide the five basic areas to watch for when identifying symptoms of burnout:

  • Physical

This means lack of energy or ability to continue to do normal everyday activity because it all seems like a big task.

  • Emotional

When physical energy depletes, and your mood also plummets. Suddenly, you might lack the motivation or drive to do the activities you once loved.

  • Behavioral

Your behavior obviously reflects your physical well being and emotional state. If you do not have the energy to physically exercise as you should, you will not do anything you are not emotionally motivated to do.

  • Interpersonal

When you emotionally feel shut down, you are also feeling physically burned out as well. This is when you want to isolate yourself or put in extra hours at work just to avoid social interaction.

  • Attitudinal
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary:

“Here is the definition of attitudinal: relating to, based on, or expressive of personal attitudes.”

Attitudinal behavior reflects how our disposition affects those around us, regardless of persona or professional life. We can have a bad attitude, and that can infect every part of our lives. A bad attitude can taint our professional lives in the way that we interact with our co-workers or business associates. However, a bad attitude can strain personal life at home as well.

Burnout: Signs, Symptoms & How To Avoid It!

Even psychotherapist[3] report feeling stressed out. Those that had a higher caseload experienced more trauma. In general, emotional fatigue is one key ingredient that indicates a burnout is either present or on its way. The less one feels they have control or flexibility with an outcome or decision-making, experts say, the easier it might be to feel energetic rather than emotionally taxed. Lack of control over outcomes, circumstances, and situations can tend to wreak havoc on our nerves thus increasing anxiety.

Definition of Emotional Burnout

An article in the Psychology and Health Journal[4] on perceived control and the correlation with depression explains:

“The term “burnout” refers to a syndrome of emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and reduced personal accomplishment that can occur in human service professionals. There are now over 2,000 publications on the topic. This paper reviews a subset of the literature concerned with burnout, depressive symptomatology, and perceptions of job control. It appears that the first two constructs share appreciable variance but are not isomorphic. Research also indicates that the development of burnout has a modest association with perceptions of job uncontrollability (i.e., perceived lack of autonomy and little decisional latitude).”

Can Exercise Prevent Burnout?

There are various types of burnout, including exercise fatigue. It might not be that you are indifferent but maxed yourself out too quickly. Life is what they call a marathon and not a sprint. However, some exercise is better than too much or not enough. A 12-week exercise pilot study conducted by Bio Med Central (BMC)[5] determined that: “The present pilot study delivered preliminary evidence that exercise reduces perceived stress among participants suffering from burnout, and prevents them from developing a deeper depression.”

Does Passion Make A  Difference?

Passion plays a big role in whether or not someone experiences a burnout. Without passion for what we do, burnout in career and/or caring for our children can happen. We can be drained doing anything too much or too extreme unless we absolutely love what we do. Hence, passion makes a big difference between those that cannot continue and those that can run on 4 hours of sleep and get up a do it all over again. In fact, in studying college students that are either motivated or experience burnout from studying, the Educational Psychology Journal[6] came to a simple conclusion. The research found that passion is the key ingredient to avoid burnout:

“The findings suggest that passion for studying explains individual differences in students’ academic engagement and burnout beyond autonomous and controlled motivation and thus deserves more attention

Importance of Self-Care

In conclusion: Not only does passion for what you do help in reducing burnout, but also self-care and compassion. Because caring for our own mind, body, and spirit is our responsibility. We cannot expect others to provide personal self-care and love we should be giving to ourselves. The Journal of Social Work in End of Life & Palliative Care[7] sums up how to avoid burnout while examining hospice professionals:

“Thirty-seven HCPs were surveyed regarding their levels of compassion satisfaction, compassion fatigue, and burnout. Respondents also reported the types of self-care activities in which they took part. Results indicated a relationship between self-care strategies and lower levels of burnout and compassion fatigue, and higher levels of compassion satisfaction.”

Proper Rest & Relaxation

What is crucial is scheduling and sticking to a 2-day rest break from your exercise routine. It is also helpful to understand that exercise helps reduce burnout in both your professional and personal life. Most importantly, listen to your body and get on an adequate sleep schedule. Above all, be present with loved ones on your off days because nothing is more important than living a healthy, balanced life.

[1] http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/abs/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.397

[2] http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/cap/29/3/284/

[3] http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/pro/20/1/32/

[4] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08870449608401975

[5] http://service.weibo.com/share/share.php?url=https%3A%2F%2Fbmcresnotes.biomedcentral.com%2Farticles%2F10.1186%2F1756-0500-6-78&title=Aerobic%20exercise%20training%20and%20burnout%3A%20a%20pilot%20study%20with%20male%20participants%20suffering%20from%20burnout

[6] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/01443410.2011.570251

[7] http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/15524250802353934


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  1. These are good tips. I would’ve never connected exercise with work burnout. I sometimes get exercise burnout & am currently experiencing work burnout with my day job. Self care is really important!

    • Thanks Samantha for sharing your story. According to my research on this topic and for this article I found that exercise actually benefits and benefits self-care, reducing stress. 🙂

    • Chibuzor, you are correct in that our personal health is very important. Thank you for acknowledging that our article serves as a health guide. Best to you and hope you return again to read our future articles.

  2. I didn’t know about this term ‘Burnout’ but I can say that I went through it. I agree with all its effect on our personality. It does affect physically and emotionally. And Passion really inspires one to continue working with same motivation, its the actual driving force!

    • Yeah, it’s easy to think someone is just “copping out.” The very best: musicians, artists, doctors, teachers, health care professionals- just about anyone can get burned out. Self care is important in all three areas: mind, body, and spirit.

    • I know, same here. It’s hard though when everything we do now is online. We’re always connected. It’s hard to disconnect sometimes, turn off the smartphone and leave the computer behind once in a while. 🙂


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